swell·​ing | \ˈswe-liŋ \

Definition of swelling 

1 : something that is swollen specifically : an abnormal bodily protuberance or localized enlargement

2 : the condition of being swollen

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Synonyms for swelling


bump, knot, lump, node, nodule

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Examples of swelling in a Sentence

There was a swelling above her eye. The swelling around her eye should subside in a few days.

Recent Examples on the Web

In February Marquel Brumley had signs of a bad cold, later accompanied by piercing migraines that led to limited muscle movement and facial swelling. Julie Mazziotta, PEOPLE.com, "Pediatrician Says Chance of Sinus Infection Spreading to Brain Is 'Extremely Rare' After Boy Dies," 19 Mar. 2018 The fake spots cost $250, take about an hour to ink, cause temporary swelling and can last up to three years, Rainbow said. Lisa Gutierrez, kansascity, "Seeing spots? Meghan Markle inspires freckle tattoos and #TeamFreckles pride," 14 June 2018 Metal plates and screws were placed on her skull and drains were placed in her brain to relieve brain swelling and drain fluid. Fox News, "Montana bear researcher working 'dream job' mauled by grizzly, walked 2 miles with fractured skull," 23 May 2018 Ten days after that, a lump resurfaced on her upper lip, causing massive swelling. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Selfies show worm slithered through woman’s face for 2 weeks," 22 June 2018 Patients typically develop fever, headache, chills, weakness and painful swelling in the lymph nodes. Alexandria Hein, Fox News, "Idaho child recovering from plague," 13 June 2018 If the swelling in your lungs exacerbates, however, a dangerous condition called high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) can occur. Brad Stulberg, Outside Online, "What Happens to Your Body When You Climb Everest," 11 June 2018 It was reported that the player had visited specialist Dr Ramon Cugat in Barcelona for an exploratory surgery this week due to persistent swelling in the joint. SI.com, "Sergio Aguero Has Knee Surgery, In Fitness Race for World Cup," 17 Apr. 2018 My concern, given Marcie’s age, was that a cancerous lesion was causing the swelling. Dawn Filos, Philly.com, "Medical Mystery: Why was German shepherd limping?," 29 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'swelling.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of swelling

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for swelling

Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for swelling

The first known use of swelling was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for swelling



English Language Learners Definition of swelling

: an area on someone's body that is larger than normal because of an illness or injury

: the condition of being larger than normal


swell·​ing | \ˈswe-liŋ\

Kids Definition of swelling

: a swollen lump or part


swell·​ing | \ˈswel-iŋ- \

Medical Definition of swelling 

: an abnormal bodily protuberance or localized enlargement an inflammatory swelling

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Comments on swelling

What made you want to look up swelling? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


playful or foolish behavior

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